I’m not telling you to quit; I’m just saying I did.
According to the American Lung Association, smoking is an addiction and as most smokers know, quitting isn’t easy. Some groups have higher smoking rates including the African-American community, where over 20 percent of adults report that they currently use tobacco. And African-Americans have a harder time quitting because of aggressive, targeted marketing campaigns promoting mentholated tobacco products and a lack of access to affordable quit smoking resources.
Did you know?
Many of you may not even know that I was a smoker. I think I started smoking cigarettes around the age of 19 or 20. I’m not even sure what started it all, I just know I started. Maybe it was being in a foreign country away from family and almost everyone around me was doing it. I’m not saying I didn’t have fun doing it at the time. It was my way of releasing stress, a way to take my thoughts away from the world around me and a way to build connections with those that smoked as well.
The battle to quit
Over the past 10 years I’ve been trying to quit off and on. Both times when I was pregnant, I quit before my IVF treatment so it was about 3 years all together. I must have tried quitting about 20 times in my life. I guess the time was not right. When we move to Virginia and watching my kids get curious; and my passion for running was reignited, I knew I had to then because I had no intentions of quitting prior.
Today, I’ve been nicotine free for 8 months. I decided to do it cold turkey and realized that enough was enough. I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and a bulging disc, which is a common condition that affects most adults older than the age of 50; but I’m only 37 and I was diagnosed around age 30. Simply, degenerative disc disease is characterized by the ongoing deterioration of the discs of the spine.
So imagine smoking and how much more damage that can cause. Even with treatment, it would seem pointless because while smoking the healing process slows down. If you’re a smoker about to have surgery on your foot or ankle, there are some important things you’ve got to consider. Cigarette smoke is filled with harmful chemicals including nicotine, hydrogen cyanide, and carbon monoxide. While smoking you increase the chance that your bones and tissue may not heal well, that the area may become infected, or that you may have more pain after surgery than you did before.
Overall, I feel great and I’m 100% committed to this journey of being clean and healthy. Every chance I get to be a better version of myself I’m going to take it. Taking that big step was one of the best decisions of my life. The battle is not over but my body has fresh start.